Tech giant Google has responded to recent claims from Genius Media that they are plagiarizing the song lyrics that appear in search results. Google released a detailed blog post explaining how they source the song lyrics that appear on their page.
The blog post details how Google obtains lyrics. “We pay music publishers for the right to display lyrics, since they manage the rights to these lyrics on behalf of the songwriters,” the post explained. But many times music publishers don’t have transcribed copies of lyrics. In those cases, Google licenses third-party contractors to get lyrics.
“We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics. The lyrics that you see in information boxes on Search come directly from lyrics content providers, and they are updated automatically as we receive new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis.”
Google’s blog post then mentioned Genius’s accusation, and said they are questioning their lyric source to “ensure that they’re following industry best practices in their approach.” To make sure this type of scandal doesn’t happen in the future, Google will begin crediting lyric boxes that appear in search results to the third party who sourced them.
Genius Media’s original accusations appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Genius chief strategy officer Ben Gross told the newspaper, “Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius.” Genuis’s evidence comes from their form of watermarking. Lyrics that appear on the website have a specific format of quotation marks. Genius claims that many of Google’s lyrics have the same combination of quotation marks, which necessitate plagiarism.